Will He Settle for a Lexus and an Olive Tree?


By Neal Comment

flatworlds.jpgLast week, Thomas Friedman won the first-ever Financial Times/Goldman Sachs business book of the year award for The World Is Flat. Apparently, artist Ed Miracle wants a piece of that £30,000 cash prize, because he’s suing Friedman and Farrar Straus Giroux over the original dust jacket, which featured his 1976 painting “I Told You So” (the leftmost of the two images). Basically, the story boils down to this: Friedman had the poster for years, thought it was funny, wanted it for a cover, and FSG thought it had obtained permission from the right party. Miracle begged to differ and FSG yanked the cover soon after the book hit stores in April, but that wasn’t enough to make Miracle happy. Negotiations snagged back in August, then Fortune got wind of the story in October, and now Miracle’s filing a copyright-infringement suit. Over the summer, his agent was telling reporters, “We can’t afford to enforce our rights in civil court. It could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Sounds like they’ve managed to clear that hurdle…

And here’s a funny angle from across the pond: In late October, a British solicitor mentioned the controversy on his blog after reading the Fortune article. Two weeks later, the guy became Miracle’s UK/Commonwealth counsel. He’s got a picture of the original painting illustrating the announcement—and, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Miracle’s just suing because he’s steamed about how badly his work got butchered.